The year was 959 BCE. The place was Jerusalem. 500 years had passed since God had called His people out of Egypt and through the Red Sea. King David had passed away and now the ultimate “wise guy,” King Solomon had ascended to the throne. By God’s design, Solomon completed a project his father David had planned for . . . the construction of a Temple for God in the capital city. Inside the Temple, the ark of the covenant would be placed and God’s presence would hover.
In the year 959, Solomon would dedicate the Temple and the words he shared provide a powerful reminder for us at Christmas time. In 1 Kings 8:27, Solomon says of the Temple:
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house that I have built!”
As Solomon looked at the impressive Temple the people of Israel had just constructed, one of the seven “wonders of the ancient world,” he marveled at the thought that God would inhabit such a common place.
Imagine that you were standing in front of the White House, the Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace, or Notre Dame Cathedral. As you look at these impressive structures, despite all their grandeur, you probably would say something similar to Solomon. As beautiful as the best of our buildings are, it is impossible for mankind to create an adequate “home” for an eternal, omnipotent, omniscient God.
And yet at Christmas time, we celebrate God coming, not to a palace, but a stable! We celebrate God arriving not in a chariot but in the womb of a teenaged girl riding on a donkey. We celebrate God not merely sending a telegram through the stars, but arriving in the flesh. Listen to what John says in His Gospel, John 1:14, 18:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth . . . No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, He has made Him known.”
When we look at nativity sets around our houses this Christmas, we should wonder like Solomon did, “Did God indeed dwell upon the earth?” The answer to this question is an emphatic YES!
Jesus moved into our neighborhood. Jesus spoke in a way we could understand. Jesus demonstrated all Grace and Truth so that we might KNOW GOD. By living out a life in human flesh and having that life preserved for us in the Bible, we can understand what God’s character is like in three dimensions.
Do not let the wonder of the incarnation slip by you this year. God did indeed dwell on the earth, and we are blessed beyond measure as a result.